The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, said on Thursday that the war against terrorism in Nigeria would be successful.
Minimah said this at an event to mark the 2014 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers organised by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in Abuja.
The COAS, who was represented by Brig.-Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, Director, Peace Keeping Operations, Army Headquarters, expressed the optimism that the government’s counter-insurgency efforts would bring peace, stability and progress.
He said: “I would like to emphasise the commitment of the Nigerian army to uphold and support the ideals of the United Nations, especially on issue of peace keeping and global stability.
Minimah said Nigeria was the fifth largest contributor worldwide for peace support operations and that is not far to fetch considering the fact that the country had challenges which made it able to provide some expertise in the field.
“We believe and are committed to ensuring that the outcome of countering terrorism in Nigeria would be successful and would result in peace.
“We have the support of our legislators. We also have the goodwill which the Nigerian Army has been enjoying from you, who pay the tax for us to be in uniforms today,” he said.
The army chief recalled that more than 120,000 personnel at different times between 1960 till date had served in Peace Support Operations (PSOs) globally.
He said more personnel, especially women, were recruited in the peace building process. We are getting more involved and redefining it.
“We apply best practices in peace support operations even here in the country and we realise that the process of peace building is more practical when we have women involved.”
Also presenting a lecture, Dr Istifanus Zabadi, Provost, Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, National Defence College, emphasised the need for a national policy framework in PSOs.
Zabadi said a national policy framework would enhance the coordination and improved national interests in peacekeeping efforts.
The provost also outlined other areas that needed to be addressed in ensuring Nigeria’s participation in PSOs.
“We do not have overall strategic operatives in the trainings given; we do not have specialised units contributing to PSOs; we should have a rapid reaction force.
“We should coordinate our national efforts; synergy in training at all levels needs to be taken advantage of; the issue of professional misconduct should be taken seriously.
“A peace keeping environment provides the opportunity to improve the skills level of personnel and creates an image for the country.
“Nigerians do not honour peacekeepers; we need to change our attitude towards that and to achieve such national interests, the challenges identified need to be addressed.
“Let’s see our peacekeepers as we see our Super Eagles only on a different field achieving the goal of peace,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Dr Joseph Golwa, Director-General, ICPR said the day would enable people globally to reflect on the “supreme sacrifice of our brothers and sisters in the course of pursuing peace globally.
“We reflect on it to remember that the international community has a responsibility to one another,” Golwa added.
He also commended the efforts of the country in peacekeeping operations.
May 29 was set aside by the UN General Assembly in 2002 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
It is a day to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.
It is also a day to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the